Financial prosperity can be elusive. Money problems burden many of us—debt, lack of savings, unemployment or underemployment—and as a result, we’re robbed of real happiness and joy. Yet, our Creator God wants everyone to truly prosper in the area of personal finances.
Notice the prosperity He gave to Joseph anciently: “And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man …. [T]he Lord made all that [Joseph] did to prosper in his hand” (Genesis 39:2-3).
Years later, God promised the children of Israel the greatest prosperity and abundance of material wealth—conditional, of course, on their faithful adherence to His way of life (Leviticus 26:3-5). Just before Israel entered the Promised Land, Moses reminded the Israelites that “it is [God] that giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18).
Another example of God’s generosity can be found in the book of Job. In his day, Job was the richest man in the East. Once he repented of his sin, God gave Job double his original wealth (Job 42:10).
Solomon, another exceedingly wealthy ruler, noted in Ecclesiastes 5:19, “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.”
Jesus, the Son of God, said that one of the main purposes for His being sent to Earth was that we “might have life” and that we “might have it more abundantly ” (John 10:10). The Apostle John concurred: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health …” (3 John 2).
Prosperity is not a sin. It is a blessing. God is the greatest giver of abundance and prosperity. It is his will that we prosper and enjoy the “good things” in life.
If God wants everyone to prosper and live abundantly, then why are many of us wracked by debt and weighed down with financial worries today?
There are reasons!
What Most Don’t Know
God will not bless anyone who is breaking His laws. If we are breaking the Tenth Commandment by coveting goods we cannot afford, for example, then we will be far likelier to overspend and go into debt. If we are putting material goods before God, then God, in order to correct this, may curse us by withholding the prosperity He would much rather give us!
The late Herbert W. Armstrong taught for more than 50 years that the Holy Bible is the foundation of all knowledge—including the knowledge of how to manage money properly. Through much meticulous Bible study and research, Mr. Armstrong learned that the key to financial success is to realize an important biblical fact: Your income is not yours!
“You probably never realized this fact before—but it is a fact,” he wrote in his 1959 booklet Ending Your Financial Worries. “God Almighty the living Creator-Ruler of the universe claims it all—every dollar—every pound—every franc—every mark. Your Maker who gives you the very air you breathe tells you it all belongs to Him, not to you!”
Scripture is replete with proof of this vital understanding. Let’s notice several important verses.
In Exodus 19:5, God Almighty says: “[A]ll the earth is mine.”
Through the inspired pen of Moses, we read, “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is” (Deuteronomy 10:14). Yes, God Almighty owns this Earth and everything that exists or lives upon it!
“For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. … [T]he world is mine, and the fulness thereof,” claims our Maker (Psalm 50:10, 12).
According to the Bible, “your” money—“your” income—rightfully belongs to God. “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:8).
This biblical principle is important to remember when considering how we ought to manage our finances. What we may earn in wages or receive as a return on investments is not really ours—that is, not until two prior claims on our income are satisfied.
One claim is taxes. Jesus said that Christians should “[r]ender therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s …” (Matthew 22:21). But the first claim is God’s claim. Christ concluded that verse, “and [pay] unto God the things that are God’s.”
With this statement, Christ pointed to another fundamental financial law that we must keep if God is to be able to bless us with the prosperity He promises—that is, the law of tithing.
God’s Law Regulates Your Income
Throughout the Bible, God makes it a law that the first tenth—or “tithe”—of every individual’s income is to be paid to Him through His chosen servants.
God is a God of love (1 John 4:8, 16). He knows our needs and wants. Indeed, He has your well-being in mind. He is concerned for you; that is why He has made this law regulating your income.
God’s law concerning what you earn is, in fact, a deal He has made with you. Consider it: God allows you to work on His Earth, to use its resources, its forces and energies—to use what others have extracted from this planet, in manufacturing, distributing, selling, buying, investing. Whatever your occupation or profession, you are actually working in partnership with God! When we stop and analyze this, we are forced to admit that God truly supplies about 90 percent of everything we make or produce—and our own thinking, planning and working supplies, at best, only about 10 percent. Yet God doesn’t claim 90 percent of the proceeds, or the income. Nor does He claim 50 percent, or even 30 percent or 20 percent.
God is exceptionally generous. He has reserved for His use only 10 percent of your income. And after you have been honest in paying God’s claim—His 10 percent—to His chosen representative (by the way, it is very important to prove where God’s Work is, and tithe to the correct church), only then does God declare that the other 90 percent becomes legally yours. Our nine tenths actually does not belong to us until we have paid God His tenth. That’s God’s law!
How You Can Prosper …
Although the Creator God has unlimited resources, He has always conducted His Work among and through human beings. Tithing (or “tenthing”) has been God’s financial system for millennia and continues to be a binding obligation upon New Testament Christians.
Long ago, even during the time of Abraham, God used the tithing system to underwrite His Work. In Genesis 14:18-20, we see that Abraham (who was not a Jew, but who was the human “father of the faithful”; one who feared God and kept His commandments) tithed 400 years before Israel was commanded to do so.
Leviticus 27:30 and Numbers 18:20-21 spell out the details of tithing and show how the people of Israel were to tithe in support of God’s religious system. Even after Christ’s death, the Apostle Paul called tithing, which was confirmed by Christ, a law (Matthew 23:23; Hebrews 7:4-14).
Today, God’s Church uses the same tithing method to finance its commission to deliver a warning message and preach the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God—the very message Christ preached—to this unhappy, debt-ridden world.
The organization that sponsors this website is the very Work of God (John 6:28-29)—and it is sponsored, financed and conducted God’s way, as God directs in His Word. This Work is funded and supported by a growing number of co-workers who believe in the cause and gladly give of their incomes to support it.
Each week, our headquarters office in Edmond, Oklahoma, receives letters, e-mails and telephone calls from our co-workers telling us how they have been blessed for supporting this Work. Those who pay God’s tenth are prosperous—not necessarily wealthy, but their needs are always supplied.
… Even in Hard Times
Have you ever wondered why so many are experiencing financial difficulties nowadays, even in this economically advanced age? Today’s problems were foretold centuries ago in a remarkable prophecy!
Notice what God asks through the Prophet Malachi: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?” And God answers, “In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation [world]” (Malachi 3:8-9).
There is a definite cause for every effect. The United States has been the wealthiest nation on Earth for many years. Tragically, it is starting to slip into a second-rate status. The U.S. economy has already been eclipsed by that of the European Union. Bankruptcy is becoming an even greater scourge to this nation. Personal and collective debt is at an all-time high, and financial troubles are wrecking families. Families that should have a minimum of three to six months’ income in savings in case of emergency instead have virtually no savings—and are plunging even deeper into debt.
If you are suffering from a lack of abundance or blessings, how can you turn things around and begin to prosper in these increasingly difficult times?
The Bible gives us the answer. Continuing in Malachi 3: “Bring ye all the tithes [i.e. the whole tenth of your gross income] into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (verse 10).
That is God’s promise!
Why not put God to that test? Why not prove Him to see if He doesn’t increase the value of your income in this period of looming recession so that your own 90 percent God gives you will be worth more than your whole income now?
‘But I Can’t Afford to Tithe!’
Unfortunately, some have lacked the faith to obey God’s positive command to tithe. They have used carnal reasoning to attempt to justify their failure to pay God His rightful tenth, saying, I’m just behind in paying my tithe. I can’t afford to tithe until I pay down some of my debts.
This type of thinking is deadly. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25). We can , and must , pay the first 10 percent of all our income to God’s Work—even if we are in debt!
Do you realize that if you have not been honest in your tithing that you have been stealing from God? Do you recognize the fact that you are guilty of sin and you are under a curse—and that your sin negatively impacts God’s Church and His Work?
Here’s what Mr. Armstrong wrote in response to those who have used the excuse, “I can’t afford to tithe”: “But listen and heed! It is not your tithe—it is God’s—holy to Him! it is the first tenth of your income—before all else—before paying bills. You have no right to it! If you work for a bank, and you take some of the bank’s money, that is embezzlement! But stealing from the God who gives you your breath of life, the food you eat, the clothes you wear—that is far worse in His eyes! Pay up God’s tithes first—and assure yourself of God’s special financial blessing, so you can pay off your debts to humans” (Good News, January 1979).
A Spiritual Blessing
God’s system of tithing is a financial law. It is sure to bring financial blessings. More importantly, though, it is guaranteed to yield tremendous spiritual dividends!
Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). That, too, is a law. If your treasure is in this world’s entertainments and pleasures—if “your” money—God’s money—is being spent only on yourself and your own needs and selfish desires—then your whole heart and interest is in this world and not in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus also said, “But seek ye first [i.e. aim and actively strive after] the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (verse 33), and then all these material needs will be added to you besides. Seek God first, and He will see that your needs are met—even in hard times. Seek His Kingdom with all your heart, and your financial troubles will begin to melt away; your life will become happy, full with assurance of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Yes, tithing is a law that produces manifold blessings. Why? Because it reinforces God’s way of give and actually helps us to develop holy and righteous character.
Jesus taught, in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
Notice this beautiful cycle! See how the principle also applies to tithing: God gives to us—and we give back to Him on a return circuit that which is rightfully His—and He gives us more!
There is no way we can ever out-give God. Truly it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). When we honor God with our substance, our own material needs—and even many of our wants and desires—will be supplied. In addition, God will shower tremendous spiritual blessings upon us.
The Secret of Success
Yes, God wants us to prosper spiritually most of all. But He wants His people to prosper in the area of personal finances too.
Here’s the key: We must learn to put God first in everything. Backing and supporting God and His Work, which includes faithfully paying our tithes, must take precedence in our lives.
Notice the “secret” to success and prosperity, as explained by our editor in chief, Gerald Flurry: “If you want the ultimate prosperity … give your life to this work …” (The Last Hour ; emphasis added throughout).
This advice might sound like an oversimplification—but it is not! After all, doing God’s Work was Jesus Christ’s life (John 4:34)—and it still is!
Continuing, Mr. Flurry wrote, “If you want to help God’s Work with all your being, do you think that, as a general rule, God would take away your prosperity and health? Or will He say, Bless that individual, because I know he will put my Work first with his energy and his money! … If you want to use your prosperity and health for God’s Work, you are going to have more prosperity and health! That doesn’t mean you will always be prosperous … but you will have more … blessings.”
If your life is filled with little or no prosperity, Mr. Flurry wrote, “then you should closely examine yourself for sin. God wishes ‘above all ’ that we prosper …. Like Christ, our first priority must be to invest our … prosperity in God’s Work.”
When we invest our prosperity in God’s Work—and when we support the Work of God by faithfully obeying the law of tithing—we express our recognition of God’s rulership over the entire Earth and over us individually. We show our cheerful adherence to the first great commandment—worshiping the one true God and Him only. And the man or woman who keeps God’s financial law will reap the physical and spiritual blessings promised in His Word.
God will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings so great there will not be room enough to receive them—guaranteed!